News: Home is where the pack is: Marines set up camp in southern Afghan desert
Story by Lance Cpl. Tommy Bellegarde
CAMP BELLEAU WOOD, Afghanistan — A desolate patch of Afghan desert has been transformed into the Marine Corps' newest installation in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Marines and sailors from 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, have been working night and day to establish Camp Belleau Wood, named after the famous World War I battle in which 3/6 valiantly fought many years ago.
In a matter of days, the Marines have made Camp Belleau Wood into a functional military camp that is continually growing and improving at an exponential rate.
The Camp Lejeune, N.C.-based battalion moved from Camp Dwyer earlier in the week to their current location at Camp Belleau Wood. From that point, the battalion has been conducting military operations while continuing to build the camp from the ground up. Marines around the battalion have been impressed with the hard work of everyone involved to get the camp up and running.
"There were Marines out here that were tasked to do things besides their (military occupational specialties) in order to get this place finished," said Cpl. Michael J. Ayotte, a combat photographer with 3/6. "Marines worked with no questions asked because they knew what needed to get done."
Lance Cpl. Nhan B. Ngo, a basic equipment repair specialist with the battalion, has been tasked with maintaining power for the entire camp, and has been working almost non-stop since arriving here.
"As soon as I got (to Camp Belleau Wood), I started laying down the generators. From there, I spread out the power lines," said Ngo, from Festus, Mo. "I'm the only one over here in my entire MOS field. That's why I've been so busy," he added.
The base, which was built in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, is still in its infancy and is currently a community of tents. It lacks permanent structures, running water and a dining facility. Nevertheless, the Marines of 3/6 are determined to adapt to their current situation and overcome any discomfort they may face.
"We might be sleeping in dirt, but at least we're sleeping in a tent," said Ayotte, from Albion, N.Y. "Even if we had to sleep outside, we could still do it."